Where the Mind goes, the Body Follows

One thing I have learned is that the body follows the mind.

mind-body

If you take your mind into deep dark alleys of negativity, you will find that your body succumbs to the traps of food marketing easier. You will find that your willpower is depleted, exercise happens less often, and over-eating happens quite frequently. Ultimately, it becomes a cycle that spins downward.

I have also learned, the mind will follow the body. If your body can take actions like exercise, your mind will often respond with positivity even if you never get the “runner’s high” many physiologists talk about.

The key,  as I have said all along, is consistency. Consistency of action makes actions easier.

Right now, I’m in the habit of over-eating and decreased activity.  — Somewhere, somehow, that has got to stop and be over-ruled. Still trying to tough it out.

Inertia

Keep Going. Don’t stop! Create Inertia!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/44494372@N05/7598842338/in/photolist-czu465-cubwDj

Let’s talk how I have lost weight in the past multiple times. I did it by creating inertia. I used the power of habits, and I realized that exercise is a keystone habit. Naw, I stumbled on it. I didn’t know exercise was the keystone of anything much less habit. Speaking of keystones, what’s that. Let me google that for you. Anyway, I wanted to lose weight. I realized food in = food out. So, I changed my eating habits. Yet, it never really stuck. I’d lose weight, but it would bottom out. I would gain it back. When did it work and stay off for longer periods of times? As long as I created inertia with exercise and eating healthy, it would work.

Sometime 10 to 15 years ago, I was very motivated to lose weight, and I was getting desperate.  I decided to try consistent exercise. I heard from someone, maybe my brother, that had tried the eight minute workout.

As an aside, We all make fun of it. In fact, if I recall properly, There’s Something About Mary, takes jabs at the workout. Still. It works. Why? You go from being sedentary, to increasing your muscle. You burn more calories. Its easy. Doesn’t everyone have room for 10 minutes to exercise? We can squeeze that in?

Really, though, that was the key for me. I made the exercise goal so ridiculously easy for me, that I could not say no. I had to do it. Exercise for two minutes everyday after you wake up in the morning, and before you shower. You can do that, can’t you? throw on some shorts and a shirt (don’t bother with socks and shoes) and do some exercise at home/hotel/anywhere for two minutes. Do that for a week, then expand to 5 minutes, 10 minutes as your body allows.

This is the exact way I worked myself into triathlon shape. I first started with the 8 minute workouts. I did these workouts regularly for a period of three months. I was liking my results, and I realized I was starting to plateau, so I decided to try a different set of exercise. I moved to the Abs Diet workout which was more like 20 to 40 minutes. I did that regularly for a while, then I decided to move up to Triathlons. So, I started walking slowly and swimming slowly. Then, I expanded to running, and biking at short distances, and I slowly increased duration and distance Nice and Easy. I was hooked on the exercise. I had a goal of competing in the Triathlon and I had a plan to follow. I made it dead easy for myself.

I created Inertia and not momentum. Now, time for the science lesson. Let me explain. We often say, I need to keep exercising. I need to keep the momentum going.

Momentum is mass times velocity. In other words, If I have a heavy ball, and I start rolling it, the ball will take a large quantity of force to get it moving. Once the ball is moving, it will take a large quantity of force to stop it from moving. If I have a light ball, it will obviously take less force to start and to stop. The lighter ball has less momentum.

What we really want is inertia. An object doesn’t like to change motion. That’s what inertia is. For example, when I am sedentary for multiple days in a row. The inertia of not exercising kicks in, and my body has to overcome that force before I can even start exercising. The opposite is true. If I can keep exercising, Its better for the body to stay consistent with exercise.

When people say, exercise gets easier the longer you do it. They are talking about inertia. Exercise gets easier to start and complete the longer you do it especially when you exercise at the same time everyday. Your body and your mind, don’t want to compete with the inertia of your exercise force. Its similar to the Jerry Seinfeld Productivity Hack. We can use this Inertia to our advantage in any task we want to achieve. The key is to start so ridiculously small and be so motivated, that you’d be ashamed to not exercise. Exercise and Eating and being healthy much of it is a matter of overcoming inertia and bad habits.

Weight Loss is 80% mental and 20% physical.

The key really is not to have screwed up psyche. Many of us do, and if you are overweight, don’t be ashamed to reach out to a professional psychologist and/or a professional mind-coach. I’d suggest cognitive behavior therapy as away for you to change your mental state to become more successful. Now, How do we do it?

Put Inertia in practice.

  1. Pick a time of day to exercise.
  2. Pick a type of exercise.
  3. Pick a quantity of time.
  4. Put it on your schedule, Make alarms in your phone to remind you. Write it on your shower curtain, your shower door, the bath-tub. Put your clothes out the night before. Make it so easy, that Exercise becomes immutable.

If you don’t know what exercise to pick, I’d suggest the 7-minute workout. you might need to adjust the exercise, for example, doing push-ups on a chair or whatever, but you can do the exercises. If you feel your muscles are really tight and have difficulty moving after you sit for a while, Maybe for you, the exercise is 10 minutes of yoga stretching. Heck, if it has to be 2 minutes of walking. Then, so be it, make it so easier that you can overcome the inertia of your exercise-less force. Soon, the inertia will switch to consistent exercise.

Now, I just need to realize I fell off the horse, and we all do it. The best thing for me is to follow my own advice, start small, and get back up on the horse. Two minutes of exercise here I come.

May the Inertia Be With You!

Perspective

As a trained scientist, I learned that theories and hypothesis are not absolute. We find this element in our daily lives, our conversations, and even our politics. Einstein explained this by saying its all relative. Here’s a quick example: If I’m in a car going 100 km per hour, from my front seat, the water bottle in the cup holder looks stationary. Yet, the lady sitting on the mountain overlooking the highway in the valley, the water bottle is definitely not stationary. You see, if you change your perspective, the situation changes dramatically. In my example, the change is from not moving, to moving 100 km/hour. Huge, Huge difference!

Earth Rise as Seen From Lunar Surface

Why?

As I re-trace my steps looking for my roots, changing my perspective dramatically changes my mood, my motivation, and my eating habits. When I am spinning out of control in the emptiness of outer space, orienting perspective is rather challenging. (By the way, I highly recommend the movie Gravity.) That is true for any of us. When we are negative and panic, our egoism takes over and forces us to think at a micro-self level. As we slow our breathing and relax, our mind can jump out of the micro level and look at the bigger picture.

How does this apply to eating and exercise habits?

So, you just ate a half a quart of ice cream, that decision is in the past. There is nothing we can do to change the past. We can only make a decision in the present, and that choice will change the future. Being self-critical is actually detrimental to your fitness goals. How? If we criticize ourselves and dwell on not meeting our own high expectations, we increase the stress hormones. We get tense. We begin that spiraling in space where once set in motion, we’ll stay in motion. This means: the next time you are presented with a choice for the office birthday cake, you’ll indulge again and again due to the cycle of self-critical release of stress hormones.

Now, if instead, we forgive ourselves for those recent poor decisions. We let them go, and by letting go with self-compassion, we actually relax ourselves which of course reduces our stress hormones and gives room to breathe. Thus, we’re not spiraling out of control, and we gain a different perspective. If we go back to the offer to eat a piece of the calorie-dense office birthday cake, you will choose wisely. No thank you cake.

Self-compassion brings perspective which leads to relaxation and better fitness.

Put Perspective in Practice.

Take out a piece of paper or your computer’s text editor. Write yourself a note. Answer the following questions:

  • What am I glad for?
  • What recent decisions should I forgive myself?
  • What recent actions should I celebrate?
  • What do you plan to eat the next 24 hours?
  • When will you move/exercise in the next 24 hours?
  • What can I do right now in the present that will change the future?

By answering these questions daily, you will find the beautiful mountain of perspective to balance the highway of your chaotic life which of course leads to better fitness decisions.

roots

Return to Roots

I keep a lot of information in my head. Rarely, yet it happens, I forget basic items like, where did I put my wallet. When I do forget where I put my wallet or keys, I try to remember the last time I saw them. I re-trace my steps. I keep walking backwards until I absolute know from memory that I had my wallet at that point in time. I call this **returning to the roots**.

roots

In many areas of my life, I am doing great. In fact, if I look objectively with an outsiders perspective, I’m doing fabulous. Yet, I am my own worst critic. I have high expectations for myself even surrounding actions that I didn’t even know I had expectations about. I expect excellence from myself.

When I fail, and we all fail many times, I recognize that its a part of life. I do my best to manage my own expectations, but I still have this derisive voice in my head generating all sorts of negative self-talk and “yes, buts…”. If you let those negative thoughts permeate too long, too wide, and too deep, your entire basis self will become lost. Then, self-doubt creeps as you wonder is this new “yes, but… negative” self-talk the real self or is your old basis of self the real self.

The answer is both. Yet, we don’t recognize that being so close to the situation. When you’re in the middle of it with a first-person account, you become lost. What does a person do when they’re lost? Try to re-trace their steps in the forest. Dig for roots. Look for the path back to finding the items lost.

Let’s go to the roots: My exercise habits have decreased, my blogging has decreased, and my weight has increased. Coincidence? Correlation? Causation?

One way I’m re-tracing my steps is by re-reading the book that set me on my healthy path. I’m working on healthy habits, and I’m doing my best to try to re-trace my steps looking for the North Star in the woods leading me out of the Forest and onto my own individual path.

Meditate and think on this: Eat Plants, Drink Water, and Move. Food In = Food Out. Change the equation and you’ll become healthy. Its really simple to know, but challenging to execute.

Return to your Roots!

What I would have written

Wow, this resonates with me for a multiple of reasons.  I’m on the road back to writing (I hope).  In the meantime, enjoy this quote:

 

I’ve been thinking about this damn essay for about a year, but I haven’t written it because Twitter is so much easier than writing, and I have been enormously tempted to just tweet it, so instead of not writing anything, I’m just going to write about what I would have written if Twitter didn’t destroy my desire to write by making things so easy to share.

via What I would have written.

Change Comes Through Action!

Virtues don’t come through simply thinking about them. You have to “exercise them.” Aristotle’s promise is this: if you want a virtue, act as if you already have it and then it will be yours. Change comes through action. Act first, then become.
via How to Feel Like a Man | The Art of Manliness.

If you want to be thin, then act as you already are thin.

If you want to be fit, then act as you already are fit.

If you want to lose weight, then act as if you already lost weight.

How do I mean?  Basically, What do fit people do?  They exercise consistently.  What do thin people do?  They eat consciously and sparingly.

The body follows the mind.  Where is your mind taking you?

Action Happening

Work, Life it happens. Time does not stop (at least that I know of).

So, action must happen as well. I have been working out inconsistently. I have been eating too much food. I have been eating the wrong kinds of food. What happens with this type of action?

Weight Increases. Endurance and Stamina decreases.

I was getting down on myself.  Mentally beating myself up.  Then I read and contemplated this idea:  What kind of person do I want to be?

At the core, I just need to act, behave, and do the things I think good healthy people do.  The rest will follow.

What I mean by that, is if I think healthy people exercise consistently, then I should exercise consistently.  Just do it.  Change happens that easily.  Just take small steps.  Yes, you’ll have negative feelings.  Yes, some days will be good, others will be bad.  Just take small steps towards the person you want to be.  Change will happen when Action happens.

I am training for a standard olympic distance triathlon again this year.  Running has been a challenge due to leg pains, but Biking and Swimming have been awesome.

More to come…   What action is happening by you?

Develop Mental Fortitude

I read this article with Chrissie Wellington, four-time Ironman Champion at CNN about training your mind.

Ironman champ: Train your brain, then your body – CNN.com.

The ideas ring true not just for triathlons, but for fitness, projects, and other things.

Here’s some quotes I grabbed from the article:

If we let our head drop, our heart drops with it. Keep your head up, and your body is capable of amazing feats. To plunder the words of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, “Don’t ever forget that you play with your soul as well as your body.”

How do you train your brain to help you achieve your goals?

  1. Have a mantra and/or a special song to repeat.
  2. Keep a bank of positive mental images.
  3. Practice visualization beforehand.
  4. Break up the race into smaller, more manageable segments.
  5. Remember that training is about learning to hurt.
  6. Get people to support you.
  7. Mentally recall inspirational people.
  8. Consider racing for a cause that is bigger than yourself.

You will change when you measure it!